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Extended Audio Sample For the Time Being, by Annie Dillard Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,751 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Annie Dillard Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From Annie Dillard, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and one of the most compelling writers of our time, comes For the Time Being, her most profound narrative to date. With her keen eye, penchant for paradox, and yearning for truth, Dillard renews our ability to discover wonder in life’s smallest—and often darkest—corners.

Why do we exist? Where did we come from? How can one person matter? Dillard searches for answers in a powerful array of images: pictures of bird-headed dwarfs in the standard reference of human birth defects; ten thousand terra-cotta figures fashioned for a Chinese emperor in place of the human court that might have followed him into death; the paleontologist and theologian Teilhard de Chardin crossing the Gobi Desert; the dizzying variety of clouds. Vivid, eloquent, and haunting, For the Time Being evokes no less than the terrifying grandeur of all that remains tantalizingly and troublingly beyond our understanding.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Beautifully written and delightfully strange…As earthy as it is sublime, For the Time Being is, in the truest sense, an eye-opener.”

    New York Daily News

  • “This uncommon book is a testament to a rare and redeeming curiosity…an exhilarating, graceful roundelay of profound questions and suppositions about the human adventure in nature. And as always, reading Dillard makes this mind-expanding experience an emotional one…with a voice blending clear-eyed factuality with prismatic meditations on ineffable things.”


  • “At heart Annie Dillard’s work is a record of her search for God…[and] For the Time Being is a brilliant book that…sums up God more succinctly than she ever has before.”


  • “Writing as if on the edge of a precipice, staring over into the abyss, Dillard offers a risk-taking, inspiring meditation on life, death, birth, God, evil, eternity, the nuclear age, and the human predicament…Her razor-sharp lyricism hones this mind-expanding existential scrapbook, which is imbued with the same spiritual yearning, moral urgency, and reverence for nature that has informed nearly all of her nonfiction since the 1972 Pulitzer Prize–winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Dillard…has written another splendid meditative and spiritual book. Reflecting on places, people, and events, Dillard shares doubts, hopes, and insights that cut across religious boundaries and plumb human perplexities. She leads the reader into deeper questions, considerations of ultimate mystery, and a sense of the holy in the midst of the profane and even the terrible.”

    Library Journal

  • “This absorbing meditation…[is] a spare yet exquisitely wrought narrative…By turns funny, flinty, and sublime, Dillard meshes the historical, the scientific, the theological, and the personal in a valiant effort to net life’s paradoxes and wonders.”


  • “A work of piercing loveliness and sadness…One of those very rare works that will bear rereading and rereading again, each time revealing something new of itself.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A National Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lauren | 2/16/2014

    " Perennial favorite of mine. Ponderings of a Christian writer on life, death, faith and marvels at the scale of the natural world. Easily picked up and put down over long spans of time, and I always seem to get something new from it whenever I do pick it up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lynn | 2/16/2014

    " I've moved so much that I've given almost all books away. This is one I've saved. I've lost it twice, replaced it twice. I can't remember the last time I opened it, yet I would feel lost without it. Once, this was my cure for anxiety. Overcome, I would open it at random and read until I felt better. On the one hand, it affirms the uniqueness and wonder of all things. On the other, it reminds us of how insignificant we are in our universe of mind-boggling numbers. Both of these themes are developed in a roundabout way, through roughly a dozen subjects that Dillard repeatedly returns to--birth, China, clouds, thinker, and so on--examining them from different angles in her recognizably offbeat and unsettling way. Some parts drag, and many people would detest the book as a whole. The first time I picked it up, I dropped it after a few pages. But something made me open it again, and I was glad I did. One of the most intriguing, thought-provoking, and beautifully written books I've read by one of our most eccentric living authors. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Katie Shultz | 2/15/2014

    " Frithjof Shuon condensed the thought of the Gnostic Marco Pallis thus: "It is always the man who is absent, not grace." Nations, institutions, and most people dislike real religion, which is why they sometimes persecute its adherents, for the world everywhere prizes what Marcus Borg pinpoints as "achievement, affluence, and appearance," and strong souls, they say, try to sidestep just these things as snares. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Jason | 2/14/2014

    " The stuff on dust just threw me. To say this book is philosophical is an understatement. "

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